The objective of this study was to evaluate husbandry practices of pregnant sows, immunoglobulin G (IgG) concentration in colostrum of sow from local breed of Benin, their transfer to litter and the survival and growth of piglets until 42 days of age within traditional farms pig. Results showed that sows were raised according to traditional practices characterized by sustainable or precarious housing without any hygiene measures. They were fed with forages and by-products arising from traditional and industrial food-processing. Reproductive performance allowed by these farming practices remained weak. The litter size obtained was 5.5 piglets and was a feature of the small less prolific West African local pig. The observed number of piglets weaned at 42 days of age was 5 and the average mortality rate from birth to 42 days of life was 15%. The piglets were characterized by low average birth weight at 439 g, low average intra-litter weight gain at 24 h (38 g), body weight at 42 days of 2119 g, an Average Daily Gain (ADG) of 40 g/day and a Relative ADG (RADG) of 30 g/day.kg. The mortality was negatively associated (P < 0.05) with the birth weight and the weight gain at 24 h. The weight gain within 0-42 days was positively associated with the birth weight (r = 0.59; P < 0.001). The ADG from 0 to 42 days and from 1-42 days were positively correlated respectively with the birth weight (r = 0.55; P < 0.001) and the weight gain at 24 h (r = 0.41; P < 0.005). Despite weak growth performance of the piglets before weaning, the sows were characterized by adequate IgG concentration in the colostrum collected at 24 h after the onset of parturition (22 mg/ml). However, the serum IgG levels at 7 days of life of the piglets were low (2 mg/ml). Finally, the study demonstrated that sows from local breed produce colostrum with adequate IgG concentration. However, transfer of these antibodies to piglets was low. Feeding of sows with forages may be beneficial in improving the immunological quality of colostrum in local pig breed. Finally, both weight gain at 24 h and birth weight were important to predict survival and growth of suckling piglets.
Key words: Sow, colostrum, Immunoglobulin G, local breed, Benin, piglets.
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